DMAA not in geranium, says yet another study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

DMAA not in geranium, says yet another study

Related tags Pelargonium graveolens Geranium

Guess what? DMAA is not found in extracts from four different species of geranium and three cultivars, and the ingredient in a leading dietary supplement is probably synthetic, says a new analysis from Italian researchers.

Researchers from the University of Milan concluded: “No detectable amounts of DMAA were found in the geranium species analyzed and its presence in sport supplements indicates that synthetic amine has probably been added.

“Since DMAA is a sympaticomimetic agent, its presence could determine severe adverse effects in people using these food supplements in sport or in recreational activities.”

Writing in Drug Testing and Analysis, ​the researchers report they found no DMAA in extracts from four species three well-known cultivars of geranium, including Pelargonium citriodorum​ Hort. ex Breiter, Pelargonium denticolatum​ Kuntze, Pelargonium graveolens​ L’Hér, Pelargonium tomentosum​ Jacq, Pelargonium​ ‘Creamy Nutmeg’, Pelargonium​‘Sarah Jane’, Pelargonium​ ‘Sweet mimosa’.

DMAA was also not detected in commercial geranium oil containing an extract from Pelargonium graveolens​ leaves, they added.

On the other hand, analysis of the DMAA from the dietary supplement Jack 3D (USPlabs, LLC) revealed that the suggested dose of 5.55 g of powder up to three times per day would deliver a DMAA intake of 27.6 mg, they said.


DMAA (1,3-Dimethylamylamine, also known as methyl hexaneamine (MHA), and several other names) has rarely been out of the headlines in recent months since FDA issued warning letters​ to 10 manufacturers and distributors of supplements containing DMAA.

There has been intense debate about whether DMAA, which was first manufactured synthetically by drug giant Eli Lily in the 1940s, is in fact a constituent of geranium.

Only two analyses have reported it to be a natural consistuent of geranium: The controversial ‘Ping Paper’ by Chinese researchers published in the Journal of Guizhou Institute of Technology​ (1996, Vol. 25, pp. 82-85), and the recently published paper by scientists at Intertek AAC Labs and funded by USPLabs (Analytical Chemistry Insights​, doi: 10.4137/ACI.S9969).

On the flip side, there are more studies that have failed to find DMAA in geranium plant material, including an analysis published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology​ in June described as ‘comprehensive’ and ‘robust’​ by respected members of the industry.

Scientists from ElSohly Laboratories, Inc. (ELI), Phyto Chemical Services, Inc. (PSI), the National Center for Natural Products Research, The University of Mississippi, and  the US Anti- Doping Agency (USADA) reported that gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS-MS) analysis of geranium oils or young and mature, fresh and dried leaves and stems found no detectable levels of DMAA.

The scientists further confirmed the results using liquid chromatography–high-resolution mass spectrometry (high resolution LC–QTOF-MS).

This was followed by an analysis published in Drug Testing and Analysis by Dr Dan Armstrong et al at the University of Texas, Arlington​, which had similar conclusions.

New analysis

The Milan study used a high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) technique to analyze geranium extracts, geranium oil, and Jack3D.

“DMAA was not found in any of the leaves or stems or in the commercial geranium oil included in this study.

“Approximately 30 mg per daily dose was found in the food supplement. Therefore, the amount of DMAA found in the supplement is most unlikely to have been sourced in nature, and it must be concluded that synthetic DMAA, known to be capable of causing severe adverse physiological effects, has been added,” ​they concluded.

More to follow…

Source: Drug Testing and Analysis
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/dta.1391
“Could 1,3 dimethylamylamine (DMAA) in food supplements have a natural origin?”
Authors: C. Di Lorenzo, E. Moro, A. Dos Santos, F. Uberti, P. Restani

Related topics Research DMAA Polyphenols Energy

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